HPSG Project Report, Fall 2001

Members of the HPSG Project have been hard at work developing detailed analyses of grammatical phenomena in diverse languages. Some of these are listed below:

Stanford Construction Grammar

The formal tools of HPSG have now been applied to the theory of grammatical constructions, producing a body of work that integrates some of the leading ideas of Berkeley linguists Charles Fillmore and Paul Kay with the constraint-based, lexicalist tradition pioneered at Stanford. The English Resource Grammar is based on this blend of HPSG and Construction Grammar. Some recent examples of research in the Stanford Construction Grammar tradition, all carried out under the larger CSLI-LinGO umbrella, are the following:

1. An ongoing collaboration between Ivan Sag and Jonathan Ginzburg, (King's College, London and Hebrew University of Jerusalem) has been focussing on the syntax and semantics of English interrogative constructions. They have developed a unified account of questions with `fronted' wh-expressions (Who did Sandy visit?) and those where the wh-expression remains `in situ' (You said Sandy visited WHO?), including the semantics of the `reprise' uses of the latter kind. Their results, reported in earlier conference papers (at the 1999 Amsterdam Colloquium and the 2000 Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society) are synthesized in their book Interrogative Investigations: the form, meaning and use of English Interrogatives, recently published by CSLI Publications. Ginzburg and colleagues have been pursuing further applications of this work within the broader context of computational modeling of dialog.

2. Susanne Riehemann's 2001 dissertation, A Constructional Approach to Idioms and Word Formation develops a constructional approach to idioms and collocations (English and German), derivational morphology (German, English, and Hebrew), and things in between. All of these are viewed as complex patterns with sub-parts, as opposed to separate pieces and ways for assembling them. As part of the motivation for this approach, the dissertation includes a corpus study of idiom variability.

3. Emily Bender's 2001 dissertation -- Syntactic Variation and Linguistic Competence: The Case of AAVE Copula Absence -- explores the implications for competence theories of syntax of the data on variation found by sociolinguists working in the Labovian tradition, through a case study of variable copula absence in African American Vernacular English (AAVE). The thesis includes an HPSG analysis of AAVE copula absence with the surprising conclusion that this construction requires a phonologically empty element.

4. Emily Bender and Andreas Kathol explore the English just because ... doesn't mean construction as another example of a phenomenon where the exact nature of the interplay between syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic constraints poses an interesting challenge, even under a construction-based analysis. Their forthcoming ( Proceedings of the 27th Regional Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistic Society) paper -- Bender, Emily M.\ and Andreas Kathol. To appear. `Constructional Effects of Just Because ... Doesn't Mean ... -- is available here (.ps file)

English Auxiliary Constructions

Auxiliary constructions have been analyzed, with varying degrees of success, in the constraint-based, lexicalist tradition. Two recent contributions are:

Bender, Emily, and Ivan A. Sag. 2000. Incorporating Contracted Auxiliaries in English Paper presented at HPSG-99 -- University of Edinburgh. In Ronnie Cann, Claire Grover, and Philip Miller, eds., 2000. Grammatical Interfaces in HPSG Stanford: CSLI Publications. Pp. 17-32

Sag, Ivan A. 2001. Rules and Exceptions in the English Auxiliary System'. July, 2001. Manuscript, Stanford University.

English Extraction Constructions

Collaboration with Groningen is continuing. Gosse Bouma, Rob Malouf, and Ivan Sag's joint paper -- Satisfying Constraints on Extraction and Adjunction appeared in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory in 2001.

HPSG Analyses of Diverse Languages

A number of project members have been produced interesting research results (many of these in collaboration with colleagues at other institutions) about an increasing range of languages. Some of these are already published; others are available in on-line in manuscript form:

Ash Asudeh and Line Hove Mikkelsen (UC Santa Cruz) have developed an interesting approach to the problem of noun-incorporation in Danish. Their results are reported in their (2000) paper Incorporation in Danish: Implications for interfaces in Ronnie Cann, Claire Grover, and Philip Miller (eds.), Grammatical interfaces in HPSG. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications. ( .ps file , .pdf file)

Andreas Kathol's magnum opus Linear Syntax was published by Oxford University Press in 2000. This book offers a novel perspective on the syntax of German and related languages, one in which facts about linear organization are conceptually separated from statements about constituent structure. This makes it possible to state a great number of generalizations about German clause structure in an entirely surface-based declarative fashion, yet preserve some of the key insights behind the transformational models. Some extensions to Scandinavian languages (including Icelandic) and Yiddish are also explored. See also his 2001 article: Positional Effects in a Monostratal Grammar of German, published in the Journal of Linguistics 37. Pp. 35-66.

Cathryn Donohue and Ivan Sag have been working on the notorious problem of word order in Australian languages. They have developed an approach to this based on the linearization theory pioneered by Mike Reape (U. Edinburgh) and Andreas Kathol. Their paper Domains in Warlpiri is available `HERE (.ps file) '.

Robert Borsley and Andreas Kathol, in their (2000) paper -- Breton as a V2 Language. (Linguistics 38. Pp. 665-710) propose an interesting, unfied analysis of verb-second phenomena in Breton.

Jongbok Kim (Kyung-hi University, Seoul) and Ivan Sag have recently finished revising their paper comparing French and English systems of negation. This paper -- Negation without Head Movement -- will appear in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory in 2002.

Andreas Kathol's forthcoming paper -- Nominal Head-Marking Constructions: Two Case Studies from Luiseño -- develops a lexicalist analysis of possessive head-marking constructions in Luiseño, a topic which so far has not received any attention in the HPSG literature. It is to appear in Frank Van Eynde and Lars Hellan, eds., Proceedings of the Eightth International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. In the meantime, it is available here (.ps file)

Kathryn Campbell-Kibler presented a paper at HPSG 2001 in Trondheim, Norway called Bech's Problem, Again: The Dutch Word Er. This paper uses the concepts of linearization and compaction in Kathol (2000) to present a solution for the behavior of the Dutch R-pronoun er. The DOMAIN feature is used to produce the non-local dependency, and a haplology rule is introduced to deal with the facts regarding multiple examples of er within a clause.

Andreas Kathol's paper on The Morphosyntax of Lai Relative Clauses deals with both the internally and externally headed relative clauses of Lai and the tricky morphology that goes along with them. It's published in Ronnie Cann, Claire Grover and Philip Miller (eds.) Grammatical Interfaces in HPSG. Pp. 137-151 (chapter 8). Stanford: CSLI Publications.


Ash Asudeh and Ewan Klein (University of Edinburgh) have a new paper -- Shape conditions and phonological context. It provides an elegant, theoretically simple, sign-based approach to shape alternations like the a/an alternation in English. They presented it at the 2001 HPSG Conference in Trondheim. The (extended) abstract is available HERE as a .ps file or a .pdf file.

Andreas Kathol's article -- Syntactic Categories and Positional Shape Alternations appeared in the Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics (3. Pp. 59-96) in 2000. Kathol argues against the popular view that inflected complementizers in many Continental West Germanic languages and dialects are a straightforward extension of subject-verb agreement. Adapting Zwicky's distinction between form and shape he develops an alternative approach in which inflected complementizers are viewed as special shapes that arise in analogy to shape alternations of clause-initial finite verbs.

Syntax-Semantics Interface

The MRS paper, long delayed, should be available within a couple of months. This paper lays out the theory and implementation of Minimal Recursion Semantics, a framework for leaving scope underspecified and simplifying the syntax-semantics interface. The best available document is still:

Copestake, Ann, Dan Flickinger, Ivan A. Sag, and Carl Pollard. Minimal Recursion Semantics: an Introduction (.ps ) (.pdf). Draft of September, 1999.

Ivan Sag and Henriette De Swart have just finished a revised version of their paper on Negation and Negative Concord in French. This paper, which analyzes negative concord phenomena in terms of the optional `absorption' of a series of anti-additive quantifiers is available as a .ps file.

In pioneering work, Ash Asudeh and Dick Crouch (Xerox PARC) have explored a marriage of HPSG with the resource-sensitive `glue' approach to semantics that has been developed in the context of Lexical-Functional Grammar. The (extended) abstract is available as a .ps file or as a .pdf file

Binding Theory

Ash Asudeh and Frank Keller have been discovering some new facts about the role of possessors in binding theory. These exciting new results and their consequences for HPSG Binding Theory are explored in a couple of papers (go to Ash's website to check these out):

Asudeh, Ash and (2001). Experimental evidence for a predication-based Binding Theory. In Mary Andronis, Chris Ball, Heidi Elston, and Sylvain Neuvel (eds.), Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistic Society 37. Chicago, IL: Chicago Linguistic Society.

Keller, Frank, and Ash Asudeh (2001). Constraints on linguistic coreference: Structural vs. pragmatic factors. In Proceedings of the 23rd. Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Last modified: October 11, 2001